Oct. 24, 2012
Columbia, Mo. – The Men’s and Women’s Cross Country squads will be the first Missouri teams to compete in an SEC postseason championship event this week as they travel to Nashville, TN. Hosted by Vanderbilt, the races will go off Friday morning out of Percy Warner Park in Nashville.
The Women’s 6K will start the day at 10:00 a.m., with the Lady Tigers going up against home squad and defending SEC Champs Vanderbilt, ranked No. 28 in the nation, No. 12 ranked Arkansas, and No. 30 ranked Florida. Senior Bailey Belvis (Prosper, TX) will be looked to lead the way for the black and gold after finishing first for the squad in two of the three meets so far this season. Belvis comes into looking to add to her All Big 12 Cross Country and All Midwest Regional honors from 2011.
Belvis will be joined by sophomores Liz Reida (Springfield, MO), Ali Ross (St. Louis, MO), and Maria Effinger (Swansea, IL), all of who scored for the Tigers at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational (Oct. 12). Sophomores Courtney Wood (Neosho, MO) and Courtney Brown (Palatine, IL) finished out the top 7 at Wisconsin, and will mix in with the Mizzou scorers as they battle with the tough SEC field.
The women’s squad is rounded off with freshmen Faith Summey (Eldoret, Kenya), Sam Garrett (Columbia, MO) and Brianna Westervelt (Kansas City, MO), and junior Chelsea Chrisman (Eureka, MO).
“We excited for the task at hand,” said Head Coach Joe Lynn
. “It challenges like the meet on Friday why we do this sport. We’ve been working hard for months now and I’m looking forward to seeing the girls meet the challenge confident and leave it all on the course Friday.”
The Men’s 8K race will follow with an 11:00 a.m. start, with the Tiger men going up against defending SEC champs and No. 9 ranked Arkansas, No. 28 ranked Georgia, and No. 29 ranked Texas A&M. The men are beginning the championship portion of the season after a series of impressive performances, including a 4th-place finish at the Greater Louisville Classic (Sept. 29) which landed them at No. 30 in the USTFCCCA rankings. That was the first time a Missouri Cross Country squad has landed in the national rankings since September, 2000.
The Tigers will be lining up a mixture of experience and youth on Friday, starting with senior Max Storms (Kansas City, MO). Storms has led Missouri each of the teams first three meets this season. Juniors Merid Seleshi (Ontario, Canada), Tyler Compton (Buffalo, MO), and 2011 All-Midwest Region selection Hayden Legg (Mexico, MO) will look to be right with Storms at the front of the race. Sophomore Bryant Blahnik (Red Wing, MN) along with freshman Tyler Schneider (Schaumburg, IL), who’s season has earned him two-SEC Freshman of the Week recognitions, and Evan Chiplock (Saginaw, MI) have ran consistently in the top 7 for the Tigers this fall. Senior Phil Bascio (St. Louis, MO), who will be lining up in a conference championship meet for the first time since fall of 2009, along with sophomore Sam Dickerson (Moberly, MO) and freshman Joe McKenna (Madison, WI) will be looked upon to add great depth for the black and gold.
“What’s great about our men’s team is that I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see any one of the ten finish in our top three runners,” said Lynn. “The men have done a great job of working together and fully investing in what they are doing. From day one they’ve had a ‘one for all’ mentality in workouts and races and we fully expect that to carry over on Friday.”
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